2 February 2023

Call for Letters of Intent: NSF’s NOIRLab Survey Programs

Mia Hartman
NSF's NOIRLab  National Science Foundation’s NOIRLab

The National Science Foundation’s NOIRLab (National Optical Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory) is issuing a call for new survey proposals starting in the 2023B and 2024A semesters. Investigators must complete the Letters of Intent form to propose for a NOIRLab Survey Program by 17 February 2023 to be eligible to submit full proposals for surveys commencing in the 2023B/2024A semesters. The deadline for full survey proposals is 31 March 2023 at 11:59 pm MT.

What Is a Survey Program?
A survey program is a significant observational program that:

  • addresses novel, well-focused scientific goals:
  • enables scientific programs requiring large, statistically complete, and homogeneous data;
  • provides a basis for planning more detailed follow-up studies;
  • enables extensive archival research; and
  • represents a significant enhancement over existing surveys.

Successful programs are expected to be completed in three years or less and proposers will be expected to provide publicly accessible data and data products at the end of the observing program. 

NOIRLab offers the opportunity to conduct major survey programs on the Blanco (CT-4m) and SOAR telescopes at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile. Available instruments are listed below.

Up to 20% of the observing time available through NOIRLab may be allocated to survey programs. Investigators wishing to conduct surveys using the Gemini telescopes should review the Gemini LLP Call for Letters of Intent and submit proposals through the Gemini Large and Long Programs TAC.

List of Available Telescopes/Instruments
SOAR/SAM, Goodman Spectrograph, SPARTAN*, TripleSpec, SIFS**, and HRCam*** 

*May be replaced by ISPI  
**Contact Luciano Fraga for SIFS prior to proposing for this instrument.
***Contact Andrei Tokovinin for HRCam prior to proposing for this instrument.

Read more about the capabilities of the NOIRLab instrumentation and data services in the Capabilities 2023 brochure

How to Propose a Survey Program
You must complete the Letters of Intent form to propose a NOIRLab survey program. The form must be completed no later than 17 February 2023 for surveys starting in the 2023B and 2024A semesters.

We understand that this is preliminary information and it may change in detail as the proposal is developed.

Letters of intent will serve two purposes. First, they will allow us to plan our evaluation process based on the number and content of potential proposals. This includes the selection of an evaluation committee with appropriate expertise and minimal conflict of interest. Second, the description of the proposed survey will be reviewed to ensure that the program fits the adopted definition of a survey. Please keep these purposes in mind when composing a letter of intent and provide as much relevant information as possible. The level of response to the 2023B call may also be used to adjust the balance of time on the Blanco (CT-4m) and SOAR telescopes between surveys and standard programs.

If you have any questions, please contact [email protected].